To say the past season wasn’t a bizarre season would be an understatement and quite frankly an insult to the previous season where the Premiership title was decided on the last day, in the dying moments by an injury time goal that resulted in the title being lost for the first time on goal differential. No this past season was just a downright mix of highs, lows, sadness and joy but then again doesn’t that sum up most Manchester United games anyway?
The season started with the unbelievable signing of former Arsenal Captain Robin Van Persie. United paid roughly 24 million pounds for the Dutch striker and it turned out to be money well spent. He lead the team with 30 goals in all competitions with most of them coming early in the season when United struggled defensively and needed the goals. With Manchester City feeling the strains of dealing with the pressure that comes when you are the defending champions United continued to rack up points winning all but 2 of their first 17 games including a 3-2 win at the Etihad stadium, a match that once again bore the trademarks of the Alex Ferguson era as a free kick late in injury time by the a fore mentioned Van Persie saw United get all 3 points. The die was cast and City having embarrassingly crashed out of the Champions league just days earlier were never able to recover and ultimately with still 4 matches to play on April 22nd, 2013 United were officially EPL Champions for the 13th title and extended their top flight championships record to 20.
Their European campaign was not as successful although it was not for a lack of trying. United drew heavyweights Real Madrid in the round of 16. A matchup that neither team wanted to see but with Real Madrid finishing as runners up in their group it was a distinct possibility and indeed happened. United took a 1-1 draw from the Bernabeu stadium and when United took the lead in what had been a throughly dominant display in the 48th minute, things were looking good for United to proceed. Things changed in the 56th minute however when Nani was awarded a straight red card for a high boot, a move that was derided by fans, pundits and even the Real Madrid coach himself who had an incredulous look on his face in the post match press conference. United looked stunned and before they knew what happened were down 2-1. It was definitely a sour note on the season as United were looking quite confident in their European travels and felt they had a good chance of making it to the finals which were being played at the venerable Wembley Stadium
So with the 20th title in the bag all eyes were fixed on next season and rumours of possible off season acquisitions until the morning of May 8th when the news broke that Sir Alex Chapman Ferguson was retiring at the end of the season
The architect of arguably the greatest sporting franchise in the history of sports was hanging it up after exactly 1,500 games in charge.That is right. The moment that all United fans knew would come but never openly spoke of had come.
All of a sudden United went from celebrating to sadness back to celebration because alas while one of the greatest men to ever grace the side of a soccer pitch was retiring, United fans were able to take a step back and look at the accomplishments during his career. 26 years 1000 games. 37 trophies. hundreds of moments of sheer joy.
Everton manager David Moyes has been subsequently named and has taken the reins today as his replacement and saying he will have big shoes to fill is an understatement but if there is one thing that Ferguson taught United fans, its that no man is bigger than the club, even with Ferguson moving on to some much deserved rest we are assured that the ideologies that have been instilled in the club will carry on forever.
It has been said time and time again over the last weeks but for one last time I would like to thank Sir Alex Ferguson for making my life as a Manchester United fan just that bit more enjoyable.
Glory Glory Manchester United.